Family comes to couple’s aid after car crash
By Jenn Watt
Jan. 13, 2019
Joe and Janis Blimkie are filled with gratitude for Barry Line residents who gave them blankets and brought them home after a bad car accident mid-afternoon on Sunday, Jan. 6.
The Blimkies were on their way home to Hamilton after spending more than a week at their cottage on Little Redstone Lake when they lost control of their SUV on a bend, rolling the vehicle into a beaver pond on the side of Barry Line Road near West Guilford.
The car rolled onto a metal fence, which penetrated the roof of the car into the backseat and broke the passenger window. They found themselves in the car upside down in the pond.
“I couldn’t get my window open or the airbag out and my leg was wedged up behind the steering wheel, which was facing upwards,” said Joe in a phone interview last week. “Fortunately my wife was able to get out through her side window, which was smashed. Her airbag deployed but was punctured as well.”
Once Janis got out, Joe was able to wiggle around enough to get his leg out from under the steering wheel.
“I was in the water for about 10 minutes up to my chin ... I was shaking and shivering,” he said.
While the car had a system to call for emergency services, it could not make a connection. Joe had removed his cellphone from his pocket to keep it dry soon after the accident, but it also couldn’t complete a call.
Janis got out of the car and was helping Joe out when Barry Line residents Darren and Teresa Johnston and their daughter Leah happened upon them.
“We came around the corner and I looked and the tracks on the road looked weird and I looked to my left and the car was in the pond upside down,” Teresa said in an interview. “We pulled over and Janis was out of the vehicle and he [Joe] was trying to pull himself out. They were drenched and obviously in shock, I called 911 and then while I was on the phone we helped them up the bank into our vehicle where my daughter was.”
Darren called Jamie and Wanda Bacon who quickly made their way to the accident with blankets for the Blimkies.
Teresa remembers Joe was shaking from the cold.
Since the Blimkies seemed to have no injuries and were so dangerously cold and wet, the Johnstons decided to bring them home. They let the 911 operator know that paramedics should meet them at the house.
The Johnstons gave Joe and Janis dry clothes and allowed them to warm up. Soon, the paramedics, firefighters and police all arrived at the Johnstons’ home. Joe said they gave excellent support.
When he spoke to the Echo nearly a week after the accident, Joe said he still can’t stop thinking of the what-ifs. What if the passenger window hadn’t been punctured by the metal pole? They might not have escaped. What if the Johnstons hadn’t decided to drive down the Barry Line that afternoon?
The Blimkies are thankful to everyone who came to their aid that day from the emergency workers who responded to the call, to the tow truck driver who showed empathy and kindness. They are especially grateful to the Johnstons, who they now refer to as “the angels on Barry Line Road.”